Austin Urban Gardens

Raised Bed Gardening and Eating Well in Austin, Texas

No Grocery Store Challenge, 4 Days Left December 29, 2010

In case you didn’t see the article in the Statesman today, here you go.

The response to the offer of farmer’s market tours has been more than I can keep up with, the day before my father’s surgery.  I’ll catch up, and its a good thing that more folks are interested in eating locally grown food, and hopefully are getting more interested in where food comes from.

So, yesterday, I invited my dear friends Christian and Jamie over for dinner, and offered up the contents in my freezer.  When they accepted, I pulled out some Thunderheart Bison tenderloin filets, a Richardson Farms ribeye, and some Kocurek Family Charcuterie drunken chicken sausage.  I thought we could cook enough food so that the leftovers would get me through the first couple of days following my dad’s hip surgery.

They arrived with my favorite Goddog, Leo and a big blue bin full of stuff.  I didn’t know what they were up to, I thought we would get stuff from the gardens and use what I had.  They had other plans, mainly, to cook dinner for me and let me relax, the kindness of which left me overwhelmingly thankful.  Jamie and Leo and I mostly hung out in front of the fireplace, while Christian cooked an amazing meal.  And we snacked on a Full Quiver Cheese Ball.  Nothing says party, like a nut covered ball of cheese!


Ball O Cheese

He brought leeks, which became a delicious leek, toasted bread, with egg and cream dish that was delicious.



Delicious Leek Dish


I’ll be planting leeks very soon, if I can get some ordered.  I believe Dixondale Farms has them.  He roasted the potatoes and dressed them with a sofrito he had made at home, and some CKC Farms Herbed Cheddar.  He seared the bison and ribeye in the cast iron skillet, and finished them in the oven.


Delicious dinner


The dinner was amazing, and I remain slightly overwhelmed at the kindness.  Friends are awesome.

I’m in the process of completing a “Year in Review” post of the No Grocery Store Challenge, but might be delayed for a few days by my dad’s surgery.  I’ll try to get it up soon, and still have 3 days left.  And, just so you know, after the year is over, nothing is really going to change, but the title of my blog posts.  No Grocery Store Challenge is a lot to type out every day.  I have no real plans to return to the grocery store.  Why would I?


8 Responses to “No Grocery Store Challenge, 4 Days Left”

  1. Paty Says:

    I read the article published in the Statesman and had to check out your blog. I am very excited to go the local cheese shop you mentioned and to have found your blog!
    I do have a question for you…Like you, I saw Food, Inc. and freaked out. My take-away, however, was less anti-grocery store and more anti-chemical companies. We do try to buy our produce from the farmer’s market (although I know we should do better and are trying) but still visit Whole Foods. I only buy from the perimeter of the store, choose the local foods when possible, and always buy organic. Local organic food (or chemical-free) is my first choice. However, I have a problem with our dependency on companies like Monsanto so I stay away from conventional grown foods, even if they are local. I always ask the farmers if they grow their food without chemicals and although many do (even if they are not certified organic we will buy their produce) I have had a few give me very unsatisfactory answers. One of them told me it was “unreasonable to be chemical-free”. Another told me not to worry about the chemicals because they change into other things after a couple of days. Obviously, he did not realize that both my husband and I are chemists. I have seen chromatograms of soil samples laden with pesticides and I know that pesticides and herbicides are carcinogens so I refuse to eat food that has been sprayed. Do you have that internal conflict yourself? If so, how do you deal with it?

    • I’m not anti grocery store, I just wanted to challenge myself to know where all my food comes from and be able to talk to the person who raised it, fed it or grew it, in person. I’m with you on the chemical-free, but I try to grow as much of my own produce as I can, and I’m all organic, so the produce isn’t a huge problem for me. I hate Monsanto, too and their evils are often hidden. My biggest problem was the way the commercially “farmed” chickens, beef, pigs, etc. are manipulated and how horribly they are treated. I don’t want to eat hormones and antibiotics, any more than I want to eat pesticides. Funny, my father is a retired chemical engineer, so I grew up in his lab. I thought when he retired, I’d never hear the word chromatograph (chromatogram is close enough) again. Small world. The farmer’s markets that are run by the Sustainable Food Center, are really strict about vendors credentials and sustainability. Some of the other markets are less so. Boggy Creek Farm is certified organic, and always a great bet. Thanks for the thoughtful response.

      • Paty Says:

        Thank you for your response and thanks for your clarification! I am sorry that I took your stand as anti-grocery store when it is not what you meant. I admire what you have done and wish we could do more like you do. I agree that meeting those people that grow or raise our food is an incredible feeling. It is the way it should be. I am sure you have read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle? If you have not, I think you would love it.
        We mostly visit the Cedar Park farmer’s market because we live in Round Rock. I should check and make sure that it is run by the Sustainable Food Center. I would not mind traveling South if it would mean better choices. Johnson’s Backyard is who we try to get most of our produce from (and they are certified organic and usually have great produce). Yes, it is a small world :-), and an ironic one at that. Who would think that a chemist would be such an anti-chemical company person, right? GMOs is my big pet-peeve. I find it amazing that people think that our food is genetically modified for OUR benefit, when in fact, it is only modified for the benefit of the chemical companies that are patenting the seeds and selling the herbicides that the plants are resistant to.
        I hope your father is recovering nicely from his surgery. I look forward to reading more of your entries, even if your no-grocery store year is almost over. I hope to learn more from you, especially about where you get the more uncommon foods locally. We knew Richardson Farms had wheat flour but did not realize they had popcorn. I can’t wait to ask them about it tomorrow morning. Have a happy New Year!

      • Richardson farms also has their own cornmeal, several varieties, too. The Cedar Park farmer’s market is great. It is not run by the SFC but, in my opinion Carla Jenkins has done a great thing out there. There was a huge variety when I went to check it out, and I know it has made a huge impact on the North Austin, Round Rock, Cedar Park area. Johnson’s Backyard Garden is great, and I buy from them as well.
        I started reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, and felt like Kingsolver was lecturing me, so I quit reading it. I am reading “Farm City” by Novella Carpenter, and love it. Its just a style preference.
        Thanks for the kind words regarding my dad. He is doing well and should recover just fine.
        Although the year is almost over, I don’t plan to make any significant changes, although I might like some avocados, and I will allow myself to buy non-Texas cheese from Antonelli’s Cheese Shop. I’m looking forward to having a favorite of mine, the Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, again.
        I hope to learn more and discover more in 2011 and will continue to blog about my local finds.
        Happy New Year!

  2. Jodi Says:

    This sounds like a great evening. There is nothing I like better than cooking at home with friends or better yet, having someone cook for me while I relax! I hope your dad is doing better, Carla.

  3. Claudia Says:

    Hey Carla,
    Congrats on both the article and the upcoming end of the “challenge”! I truly and honestly wish I could live without the grocery store but my financial circumstances cannot permit feeding 2 people out of the farmers’ market alone. What I do is read every food label, buy organic and local as much as possible, and avoid ready-made, processed foods. I make my own stocks, salsas, pesto, pasta sauce, and other pantry staples. Heck, Will even got into baking our own crackers! My next endeavor is lining up the oven with clay tiles and learning to bake good bread. And I am trying to grow a wider variety of things -with varying degrees of success, like, what’s up with the broccoli-less broccoli?
    We still have a ways to go, but are doing what we can. Just can’t justify the $20 chicken when I barely have a job 🙂 Happy New Year and hope to see you soon!

    • Hey Claudia,
      Thank you, friend. It was great to see you last week. I’d love your cracker recipe, I might find myself able to buy flour here in a day or two. I’m wondering what’s up with your broccoli. Still none? Hmm. Hope to see you soon, too. Looking forward to 2011!

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